Ben* may only be two years old, but he already knows hunger hurts...
His sister Daniella is severely autistic and at five years old she barely speaks, needing constant care.
His dad, unable to cope with Daniella’s needs, left the family to fend for themselves.
Now Mum Claire desperately tries to provide for her children on her own. But even when she goes without, she just can’t always afford to feed them.
Claire looks after Ben and Daniella as best she can. As Daniella has many complex needs she needs constant care. Claire has no down time.
“Daniella is prone to meltdowns and challenging, repetitive behaviours. She can’t talk much so we struggle to work out what she needs”, says Claire.
“She frequently wakes up at night and is extremely distressed. It’s so hard to settle her, and all the noise wakes Ben up too. Everyone is so tired.”
To make matters worse, just at the time Claire needed the most support, her mother Margaret was diagnosed with kidney failure.
Scared and exhausted, Claire was left trying to make ends meet, while struggling to care for her critically ill mother. All this while supporting two children under the age of five.
Desperate and alone, Claire turned to Windermere for help.
“I really don’t know how we would have survived without Windermere. They did so much for us,” says Claire.
“From the moment I walked through the doors at Windermere, a weight lifted off my shoulders"
Because of the generosity of people like you, the families severe financial hardship was recognised and further supports were given for their everyday needs. This included providing supermarket vouchers, essential food supplies and Christmas presents.
As Christmas approaches, we know that hundreds of other children and families will come through our doors. Many will be in dire need of support and in situations as critical as Claire, Ben and Daniella's.
“We wouldn’t have had a Christmas without Windermere. I couldn’t believe it when Tea turned up with all the food and presents. It meant the kids could have a real Christmas and we even had a proper meal for mum,” says Claire.
At Windermere we create safer futures for vulnerable children – but we need your help.
*Details have been changed to protect privacy